How to Manage Search Indexing on Windows 11

Search on Windows generally works as expected, but, sometimes you might need to manage search indexing on Windows 11.

While there are a couple of ways to search on Windows 11, things on the backend haven’t changed much compared with Windows 10. Search indexing scans files, email messages, photos, and system and other files on your computer. It’s much like creating a personal database of items on your PC. With indexing, you’ll typically get local search results faster.

You’re not stuck with system defaults, though. You can manage Search Indexing on Windows 11, so the search feature works better for you. This guide will look at different ways you can tweak and manage Search Indexing on Windows 11.

Manage Search Indexing on Windows 11

We have already shown you how to hide files and folders from search. However, there are other aspects you can manage, like switching between Classic or Enhanced indexing, disabling content indexing, or disabling indexing altogether.

To manage search indexing on Windows 11, use the following steps:

  1. Click the Start button or hit the Windows key to launch the Start menu and click Settings. Alternately, you can use the keyboard shortcut Window key + I to launch Settings directly.

Start Settings Windows 11

  1. When Settings opens, click Privacy & security from the list on the left. Scroll down the list on the right and click Searching Windows under the Windows permissions section.

searching windows manage search indexing on Windows 11

  1. Next, expand the Find my files section on the right and choose the Classic or Enhanced option.

 indexing status windows 11 settings

Note: The Classic option is on by default and only indexes your Documents, Pictures, Music folders, and Desktop. The Enhanced option will index everything on your PC and use more battery power. Also, the PC needs to be plugged in during the initial Enhanced indexing process.

Disable Content Search Indexing

You might want to remove file context indexing for a drive and supported file locations.

To disable search indexing for a specific drive, use the following steps:

  1. Launch File Explorer from the taskbar and right-click the drive you want to disable indexing on.

select drive properties file explorer

  1. Click on Properties from the menu and uncheck the Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties box and click OK.

properties stop search indexing drive

  1. A Confirm Attribute Changes dialog will come up. Select to apply the change to the drive only or the drive and all its content and click OK.

confirmation manage search indexing on Windows 11

The drive you selected will no longer have its content indexed. However, it’s important to note that this process can take a while – especially on large drives with tons of data.

Disable Search Indexing Completely

You can also disable search indexing altogether. Many users swear by it to make their systems faster and more reliable, even on SSDs. For example, some people use different search apps like the Everything app from VoidTools and not Windows Search.

To disable search indexing altogether, use the following steps:

  1. Hit Windows key + R on your keyboard to launch the Run dialog. When it comes up, type services.msc and click OK or hit Enter.

run services_msc

  1. When the Services window comes up, sort them by name, and double-click on Windows Search.

Windows Search Services Windows 11

  1. When the Windows Search Properties (Local Computer) screen appears, set the Startup type to Disabled, click the Stop button under the Service status section and click OK.

manage search indexing on Windows 11

Search indexing is now disabled, and the service won’t start after your next reboot of Windows 11.

Windows Search

If you’re not on Windows 11 yet and having problems with search, take a look at ways to fix search indexing on Windows 10. You might also want to read about enabling Enhanced Search on Windows 10.

Windows 11 has a refreshed user interface and includes a few different ways to search for items. However, you’ll get web results from Bing when searching, which can be annoying when trying to find a specific file. The good news is you can disable web search results on Windows 11.

It doesn’t have a huge search box in the left corner like Windows 10, but it does have a Search icon next to the Start button. If you find that to be too much, you can hide the search icon on the taskbar.

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